National Library of China to speed files on Japanese war crimes trials

Updated: 2013-03-15 21:50


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The National Library of China (NLC) in Beijing said on Friday it will accelerate its work on compiling historical files on the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, commonly known as the Tokyo Trials.

This is to better counter Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent statement doubting the tribunal's legitimacy.

On Tuesday, Abe referred to the judgment on Japan's war crimes during the Second World War by the court as a verdict made by victorious countries rather than the Japanese people's own conclusions. Japanese media quoted Abe as saying history should be assessed by historians.

NLC librarian Gao Hong, head of the office on the protection of historical files between 1911 and 1949, said, "The relevant history is recorded in the abundant files in our library, and history itself is the best textbook."

The trials lasted from May 1946 to November 1948, involving 818 court sessions. Seven Japanese military and political leaders were sentenced to death for committing war crimes. Japan accepted the jurisdiction of the trials in Article 11 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951.

Gao says the lack of original historical files on the Tokyo Trials in China is a disadvantage in countering "rampant right-wing voices in Japan".

While Japan has more than 300 published treatises on the trials, China has few academic books on this period. However, she adds the situation will soon change.

The compilation of an 80- volume series, The Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, co-published by the NLC and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, will be completed in June.

Gao says 50,000 pages of photocopies in English documenting the original proceedings will be a prerequisite for further academic studies.

The NLC will also organize the country's first international symposium on Japanese Second World War crimes trials in August and invite scholars from around the world, including Japan.